What a New Label Warning Study Discovered

The Lempert Report
March 04, 2016

The impact that Soda Labels has on Kids

A new research report in the journal Pediatrics said that in a survey of 2,400 parents from all demographics, just 40 percent chose a soda for their kids that contained a warning label on the package.

The researchers asked the parents to choose a beverage for their child from an imaginary vending machine. The participants were randomly assigned one of six possible beverages: one with no label, one with a calorie label and four with different variations on a text warning label. The criteria for the fake branded beverages were drawn from proposed California legislation: any sweetened nonalcoholic drink with added sweeteners with 75 or more calories per 12 fluid ounces.

The research also found that just having the calorie count on the label had 47 percent selecting that soda and 60 percent chose the one with no labeling of calories or warning.

Baltimore councilman Nick Mosby introduced legislation that would require businesses that sell or advertise sugar-sweetened sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, juices, coffees and teas to post signs warning consumers that these beverages contribute to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes. The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen said that "The science is clear: The biggest contributor to childhood obesity is sugary drinks, childhood obesity will lead to adult diseases that kill, and we must do everything we can to protect the health of our children."

The sugar and beverage lobbyists are gearing up for another fight again, after winning the battle against a similar bill presented in New York City by then Mayor Bloomberg, this time the results might be different as more data becomes public. The rhetoric will no doubt focus on suggesting consumer confusion, big brother overstepping its boundaries and added costs.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Tufts University in Boston and published in the journal Circulation suggested that consumption of sugary drinks leads to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths annually from diabetes, heart disease and cancer.